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Medikamente der Zukunft

08.06.16
4 min
Post

Angenommen, ich würde Ihnen ein Medikament anbieten, eine Tablette, die Sie täglich für zwei, drei Monate einnehmen müssten, und verspräche Ihnen, dass ihre Aufmerksamkeit bzw. Leistungsfähigkeit in der Vorbereitung auf eine große Prüfung oder in Bezug auf ihre tägliche Arbeit um ein Vielfaches zunähme. Ihre Gedanken würden nicht immerzu abschweifen, Sie würden nicht müde und überdrüssig werden, sondern hoch konzentriert für zehn Stunden arbeiten können. Ihnen fiele gar nicht auf, wie schnell die Zeit vergeht. Die Arbeit würde Ihnen ganz leicht fallen, Ihre Merk- und Aufnahmefähigkeit wären enorm. Bald würden Sie aufsteigen, ein höheres Gehalt bekommen, vermutlich richtig Karriere machen. Ihr Selbstwertgefühl würde erheblich gestärkt, das Medikament Ihnen ihre vielleicht vorhandene Unsicherheit und Nervosität in einigen Dingen nehmen! Würden Sie die Einnahme dieses Mittel nicht auch in Betracht ziehen? Viele täten es, wie Umfragen zeigen. Der Druck auf Sie, es auch zu tun, würde stark steigen. Die pharmakologische Forschung einiger Biotechnologie-Unternehmen jedenfalls hat sich ganz dieser Aufgabe verschrieben: Das Kurzzeitgedächtnis viel stärker an das Langzeitgedächtnis zu koppeln, also viel mehr viel länger zu erinnern.
Oder, warten Sie, es gäbe Nebenwirkungen. Die emotionale Bewertung für Sie wichtiger Ereignisse und Erinnerungen würde allmählich geschwächt. Sie würden zunehmend die Erinnerung eben an sich selbst, als eine sich an Kontinuitäten erinnernde Person verlieren. An Dinge, die wesentlich dazu beitragen, dass Sie sich an sich selbst erinnern, weil Sie das Gefühl haben, dass das Erinnerte eben mit Ihnen zutun hat, Ihnen passiert ist, sich auf Sie bezieht, Sie darauf Einfluss gehabt haben, was und wie etwas geschehen ist. Vielleicht würde Ihr gewaltiges Erinnerungsvermögen auch nicht mehr selektieren können, Sie würden schier verrückt werden, weil Sie sich an viel zu viel erinnern könnten. Ihr Interesse an anderen, an Ihren Freunden, Ihrer Familie würde allmählich abnehmen. Sie säßen am liebsten alleine vor einem Bildschirm, um zu arbeiten. Es wäre für Sie irgendwie eigenartig, auf andere Menschen zu treffen, befremdlich. Oder Sie würden sich langweilen. Andere kämen Ihnen gehemmt und dumm vor, bräuchten zu lange, um etwas für Sie Informatives zu sagen. Sie wüssten nichts anzufangen mit den Erwartungen und Gefühlen anderer. All das könnte dazu führen, dass Sie sich zunehmend eben als nicht echt, nicht authentisch, sondern entfremdet fühlen würden. Kurz: Alles, was Ihre Gefühlen beträfe, würde Sie zunehmends verunsichern.
Also, haben Sie sich entschieden, nehmen Sie die Tablette?
Natürlich sind die beschriebenen, möglichen Nebenwirkungen extrem und nicht zwingend. Auch könnte es ja sein, dass im Lauf der Zeit, bis wir die Gelegenheit bekommen, solche Medikamente einzunehmen, der Wert, was es heißt, ein Individuum zu sein, nicht mehr so hoch angesehen ist wie heute. Dann machten Ihnen die beschriebenen Nachteile der Einnahme der Medikamente vielleicht auch nicht mehr so viel aus. Verstehen Sie, es tun dann viele, und vielen ergeht es dann so. Man würde ja verstehen, wenn Sie sich nicht gleich am Gehirn operieren lassen würden. Zum Beispiel die Implantierung eines chip brain maschine interfaces. ( Ganz zu schweigen davon, was im genetic engineering oder der synthetischen Biologie z.B. der Züchtung künstlicher Gehirnteile möglich sein könnte!) Aber die Medikamente klingen doch recht vielversprechend, oder? Oder muss der Druck zur Optimierung auf Sie noch wesentlich steigen? Natürlich wird es zu all dem, wenn überhaupt, erst in 20 oder 50 Jahren kommen, aber der Druck zu mehr Leistung und das Bedürfnis hin zu solchen Optimierungen ist doch gut spürbar? Sie sagen jetzt vielleicht, dass es solche Medikamente bereits gibt. Sie haben recht. Ritalin oder Modafinil zum Beispiel, Medikamente die z.B. bei ADHS eingesetzt werden, leider aber weniger bei Gesunden wirken und nichts sind gegen das, was vielleicht einmal möglich sein wird.

Youssef Rakha

Arab Porn

by
Youssef Rakha
17.05.16
180 min
Longread
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Youssef Rakha
People

Youssef Rakha is an Egyptian writer and photographer, and the author of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal and The Crocodiles. We met Youssef last autumn in Cairo, and we are proud to publish Arab Porn on 60pages. 

Das Numen

with
Julian Charrière
Andreas Greiner
Markus Hoffmann
Felix Kiessling
Paul Feigelfeld
17.05.16
60 min
60hertz

This is a field recording of an experimental reading performance which took place on Friday the 13th, 2016  at the Deutsche Architekturzentrum in Berlin. 

The artist group Das Numen – consisting of Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann, Julian Charrière and Felix Kiessling – presented their recently published catalog of their whole body of work. With a background in Olafur Eliasson’s „Institut für Raumexperimente“, Das Numen work at the thresholds of art and science and nature and techology and play with the processes of translation and transformation between different realms, spheres, and disciplines.

The four texts in it were written by Carson Chan, Paul Feigelfeld, Melanie Franke and Otte E. Rössler, and performed in various formats by either the authors themselves or, if impossible, by performers. 

While surrounded by four readers, the audience was participating in another performance, during which the artists of Das Numen prepared special cocktails with transformed and purified water from the river Spree just outside the Deutsche Architekturzentrum. 

The first performance involved the readers reading interlocking paragraphs of the respective texts, creating a folded new text by four authors. The second part of the performance was a phase shifting canon which peaked in all the performers reading all the texts at the same time, time delayed and from different positions of the room.

Weissensee, September 20th, 2015

60Pages Showcase

27.04.16
1 min
Salon | 60showcase
Walking where Benjamin did
Inside the Benjamin memorial
The graveyard of Portbou

The End of the Story

with
Renata Adler
Georg Diez
27.04.16
60 min
60hertz

I went to Portbou to find Walter Benjamin, and I went with two friends, because, as one of them had said, we should not at the end of our lives be sad about all the things we had not done. We arrived on a cloudy evening by car from Barcelona. The first thing you notice about Portbou, where Benjamin killed himself in September 1940 after being told by the border police that he would be sent back the next morning, is the train station. It is huge and old and looks from the one side like a dam built of grey stone and from the inside like a small replica of something Parisian, something fin-de-siècle, something very European. And indeed, this is in all ambivalence of the word a truly European place, inhabited by a certain sad melancholia which is maybe kin to these kind of border towns and built in an ecclectical style in its purest fashion, if such a thing exists at all, pure ecclecticism. It is not a pretty village, but we came to like it, looking back, even to love it, for what it is and what it was: a place where you learn about what it was like to be a refugee.
We ate well the first night and had breakfast by the ocean the next morning. Then we climbed up the hill towards the French border, in the opposite direction from where Benjamin had come, carrying his heavy bag with, that is the rumor, a finished or almost finished manuscript inside, presumably another masterpiece, lost for ever. There were flowers in full bloom and a steady wind and a strikingly blue sky, and when we got to the top we came to the monument built there for the 500000 refugees who had fled in this direction, about 18 months before Benjamin had fled in the opposite direction: women, children, men who looked like Hemingway, all fleeing Spain after the victory of general Franco. This would be the testing ground for the following bigger war on a number of levels, the squashing of the liberal left between the right and the left totalitarians for one, but what struck me was the fact that the Spanish refugees had been put into camps once they got into France – presumably the same camps which were used for the Jews a little later.
What then are the forces of history? What do we know? We had come to look for a man and had discovered the legacy of hundreds of thousands of people. This is Europe. A place of perpetual displacement. Back in Barcelona for the night we walked by the city hall which is now run by a woman who came out of the people’s movement reclaiming the city from the capitalists. It is a constant struggle all over Europe these days. “Refugees Welcome” it said on a banner that was hanging from a balcony. The city was full ablaze with the celebration for the day of Saint Jorge. There were no refugees to be seen. And when I got back to Berlin on Monday morning, I got a call from my friend Renata Adler, author of “Speedboat” and “Pitch Dark”, legendary reporter and fierce essayist, the she was coming to Germany to write about the refugees. We have to talk about this, I said. And she said: Darling, of course we have to.

On Refugees

21.04.16
6 min
Conversation

Dear Aman,
how does one, how can one even talk about the refugees? About fleeing? About that which drives people? About that, which people bring with them? About that, which makes them who they are?
Very early on in our correspondence, you mentioned that the image shouldn’t be one of misery and distress, of dependance and fear, because this image then feeds into the fears of all the people whose resentment is big, grey and violent. However, also, and primarily because this image also degrades the refugee, the traveler, the wanderer. It disenfranchises him, this time symbolically, because it turns him into an object, a political object, an object of pity, an object to help or hate. Because it doesn’t make him into the person that he is, Musafir, free, even if he’s being persecuted.
I still think that’s the best lesson I’ve learned in the last few months. It’s the attempt to really see the other as a person with possibilities to act, because these possibilities to act are what make him into a free person. If you take this freedom away from him, visually, textually or rhetorically, then you’re taking away what drives him, what makes him who he is. How hard it is for so many to be able to see past this initial image of misery and distress. How easy it is to hold on to this image, because it easily draws a line between them and us, even those of us who want to help.
I was sitting a few days ago with some photographers at a podium discussion, talking to them about their images. “Fleeing in Images” was what the event was called. One of the photographers, Kai Löffelbein, was in Lesbos in the summer of 2015, taking dramatically-lit pictures in black and white. A rubber dinghy in front of the cliffs. A father carrying his daughter on his shoulders. Life vests. Young men shaving. A crowd standing in front of a ferry. Those were pictures were defined by an awareness, as the photographer said himself, that something historic was happening here. The photographer mentioned, that he decided on his own to go to Lesbos. The pathos it seemed, was also a kind of protection against letting what he saw slip away from him.
It wasn’t a mistaken or disruptive pathos, it was just an aesthetic form for his own disturbed state, I think. He showed strength in the people who were fleeing, I thought. And the photographer said it himself, how he didn’t photograph some things, how he turned his camera away, because he didn’t want to put the peoples’ suffering on display. However, when confronted with the view that that would never understand what these people had felt, seen, experienced, he reacted in a different way than another member of the panel did. Her images were analytic, bureaucratic, almost criminological. She took pictures of files, of rows of shelves. She was interested in the apparatus of fleeing, the mechanics of registration and intake, the way that functions in Germany. This photographer, Sibylle Fendt, is taking the opposite standpoint in a sense. She was contrasting the drama of fleeing with the non-drama of the administration.  She explicitly didn’t depict people.
What really touched me in such a strange way about both of their pictures, was – aside from the human force and conceptual clarity – the insight as to how historic this situation a year ago would become in the present. These were photos that were taken from a different awareness than that of political deal-making, surrounding quotas and the absurd deal with Turkey. They were photos that opened everyone’s eyes to what was going on very far from here, and yet so close. They were photos that weren’t commissioned, that, in the best way, didn’t aim to do anything besides depicting what happened with the aesthetic, intellectual and ultimately moral resources at the photographers’ disposal.
What does that mean though, when the present becomes historic in itself? At least in the eyes of people in countries that are sealing themselves off more and more? The time we live in is so short and terse; it’s getting tight, especially for those who are squeezing in. Because time isn’t out there for everyone, it isn’t the same for everyone. Many live longer because they can; many don’t live longer because they can’t. There’s a fundamental disparity that’s shaking the world, not only economically, but also ontologically. What many people in Germany and other Western countries don’t understand, is what people like Bernie Sanders, like the Pope (omg, I’m quoting the Pope!), say: When one person suffers, all people suffer.
The legitimization for this order, which many call democracy, fractures and crumbles when the victims, which are necessary to protect this order, keep increasing. Justice cannot exist unscathed. Human rights can only be thought of as universally possible or they can’t be thought of at all. But what’s happening right now is a departure from universality. Relativism is dominating, from the right. The frailty is on the side of the left. A vacuum is created between them, which could be the present. But, as I said, the present itself has become historic, it seems like a bad footnote to the post-modern. Did all of this really happen? Is it really all happening?
I’m going to try to read some Arthur Koestler in the upcoming weeks, because he was someone who always lived against the lies. I’ll read Achille Mbembe’s new book about the politics of enmity. I’ll soon watch the film that Marcel Mettelsiefen made about a family from Aleppo and their escape. I will accompany you, I hope, in Lesbos, to the place where the present day meets itself. Strangely, I want some proof. For what, I don’t exactly know.
We will find out. As always, Aman, my warmest regards,
Georg
 

Brief ans Feuilleton (1)

08.04.16
4 min
Post

Liebes Feuilleton, 
ich möchte Dir einige Gedanken, die mich in den letzten Tagen permanent beschäftigen, aufschreiben. Sie drehen sich um Maxim Billers grandiosen Roman „Biografie“ und die Kritiken, die nach Erscheinen des Buches aufkamen. 
Mein Alltag ist gerade ausschließlich Beethoven, Schostakowitsch, Bach und Rzewski. Ununterbrochen. In den einzigen Pausen, die ich mir nehme, lese ich Maxim Billers neues Buch. Ständig. Und ich bin total begeistert. Sogar an Stellen, die mir weniger gefallen, finde ich Begeisterung. Woran? An dem, was einige Deiner Kollegen als „Chaos“ bezeichnen. Chaos?! Würden dieselben Kollegen beim Hören der Beethovenschen Diabellivariationen auch von Chaos sprechen? Nur weil der Autor / Komponist keine Rücksicht nimmt auf „Regeln“, auf Vorhersehbares, auf Hör- und Lesegewohnheiten?
Bei den Diabellivariationen habe ich immer schon geliebt, wie Beethoven Zutaten zusammenmischt, die nie und nimmer zusammengehören, die nie und nimmer zueinander passen, die einander teilweise bekämpfen. Kälte, Wärme, Hitze, Schnelligkeit, Langsamkeit, Erstarrung, Einsamkeit, Aggression, Humor, seliger Humor, schwarzer Humor, Wut, Sorge, Kontemplation, Erregung, Hoffnung, allergrößte Trauer, allerhöchste Transzendenz, Spott und noch vieles mehr – all das auf allerengstem Raum! Man fragt sich, ich frage mich, jedesmal von Neuem, wie kann das sein? Wie geht das? Spinnt er? Ich verstehe nichts…und dann, am Ende, wenn nach etwa 60 Minuten aus dem eigentlich so plumpen Walzer ein so erfülltes Menuett wird, dann plötzlich wird klar: ja, so muss es sein! Natürlich! So und nicht anders! Welch Geniestreich!! 
Ich möchte “Biografie” und Diabelli nicht vergleichen. Aber was wollen Deine Kollegen? Was gibt es denn Schöneres, ja Menschlicheres (!) als Unregelmäßigkeiten? Als unzählige, auf engstem Raum zusammengepferchte Eindrücke, Farben, Gedanken, Emotionen. Pures Durcheinander, natürlich!! Was denn sonst? Aber dann löst sich am Ende alles auf. Schritt für Schritt. Und dann versteht man es. Oder man versteht gar nichts. Ja, so what? Darum und nur darum geht es doch in unserem Leben. (Zumindest unter anderem…) Ganz zu schweigen davon, dass beinahe jeder Satz brillant geschrieben, ausgeformt, ausgearbeitet und formuliert ist… 
Und dann, bizarr, bei diesem Plot zu behaupten, es gäbe keine Geschichte, außer „Pornografie“ ?! Haben die Kollegen das Buch gelesen? Haben sie es wirklich gelesen? Lesen wollen? Es sind teils ergreifendste Geschichten, ja Biographien, die Maxim Biller da beschreibt, und diese Biographien helfen sich eben in Extremen, sie leiden…und dann kommen Kritiker, und behaupten, in totaler Eiseskälte, es gäbe keine Geschichte?! Angstmenschentum ist das! 
Noch einmal: Was würden die wohl bei den Diabellivariationen hören? Ich habe Diabelli zweihundertachtzig Mal gespielt und verstehe (!) es noch immer nicht. Es ist eine unendliche Geschichte, Erkundung. Und jedes Mal, wenn ich glaube, etwas entdeckt und verstanden zu haben, wirft mich das Stück an den Anfang zurück. Welch ein Glück!! 
Was würden diese Kritiker bei einigen Schostakowitsch-Werken sagen? Was bei der Hammerklaviersonate? Was bei Daniil Charms? Was bei Gogol? Was sucht man? Ruhe? Einfachheit? Sogenannte Stringenz? Werke, die man eben „versteht“ und dann weglegt? 
T.S. Elliott hat geschrieben: „We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time“.
Das ist für mich die Essenz von Kunst, von Musik-Machen, von so so vielem. Auch dafür steht für mich Maxim Billers Buch. Eine wundervoll menschlichste (chaotischste…), intimste, auch in vulgärsten Momenten intimste Lebensreise und Geschichte. 
Und das totale Gegenteil drücken beinahe alle so genannten Kritiken aus, die ich darüber bisher las. Als würden sie sich das Gegenteil wünschen. 
Es ist sehr traurig. Die Armen…. 
Hochachtungsvoll,
Dein
Igor Levit

On Refugees

31.03.16
5 min
Conversation

Dear Georg,
I received your email soon after the attacks in Brussels, Iraq, and closer to home, in Pakistan. What a strange time this is. Stranger still, to learn – from Marina Hyde in the Guardian yesterday– that the London Olympics saw the largest mobilization of British military and security forces since the second world war. In 2012, more British troops were deployed around the Olympic village in London than in Afghanistan.
This summer, Hyde informs us, Brazil will deploy twice that number – 85,000 heavily armed troopers in conjunction with a whole arsenal of military hardware – to stage a sports event to showcase the athletic attributes of the human race. Long jump, high jump, triple jump, and pole vault, all under the watchful gaze of soldiers wearing facial-recognition goggles. So I suppose this is a great time to be in politics, if your primary message is one of fear and besiegement.
I read your account of the recent elections in Germany with great interest. I suppose this rightward tilt is not all that surprising, or is it? I suppose it is part of a wider trend, and so you right ask: how do we counter the successes of right-wing radicals?
This is an interesting question – to answer this, let’s take a short detour.
Yesterday, I watched “The Factory” by Rahul Roy, a film about what could well be a turning point (it is perhaps to early to decide conclusively) in working class struggles in north India’s industrial belt: In 2011, workers in a Suzuki automobile factory went on strike, resulting in a production shortfall of about 83,000 cars in a single financial quarter. The following year – a fracas between workers and management resulted in the death of a manager and parts of the factory were set on fire.
Despite little clarity, and dubious evidence, on the perpetrators of this violence, over 100 workers were kept in jail for 4 years – without bail. In one instance, their bail petition was rejected as the judge felt that granting bail would affect the investment climate in India, and send the wrong message to multinationals looking to invest in the country.
The film sought to capture this battle between labour and capital – but  the filmmaker, rather than focus on the afterlife of the conflict itself, trained his lens on the workings of the legal process. Thus his film ended up being a film about the martyrdom of the working class.
Rather than focus on the Suzuki legal case, if the filmmaker had chosen to trace how the Suzuki strike had lead to more industrial resistance in the hundreds of factories around the Suzuki plant, he could have made a very different film while still speaking of the miscarriage of justice that kept workers in prison at the behest of a multi-national company.
I bring up this example to suggest that focusing on the closure of an event often blinds us to the possibilities on its fringes.
Let us consider what we are seeing before us in Europe:
A radical event has occurred.
Several thousand people fleeing war have found safe haven in Germany. Their living conditions are far from ideal, a backlash is brewing, but at present – several thousand men, women and children, fleeing war are relatively safe in Germany. These arrivals have also forced the global community – which is selfish and mean-spirited bunch – to think seriously about how to end the war in Syria. This itself is an incredible moment that has occurred with a speed that has made it difficult to comprehend and theorize completely.
In a sense, the first round of this seesaw engagement has gone in favour of those welcoming refugees, in the same way that the first round of the Suzuki skirmish went in favour of the workers.
Now, we see an attempt to defuse the potential of this moment. Right-wingers are grumbling, the electorate is uneasy, the government is under pressure. This is all to be expected, as no radical change ever goes uncontested. Over the past year, the various governments of Europe have succeeded in shutting these routes and closing their borders – this is similar to when the Suzuki management leveraged the coercive arm of the state to imprison its workers.
But each agent in history’s long game traverses a finite distance and then passes her dice on to the next player in line. As a friend of mine in Delhi keeps saying, “Focus on the potential of every struggle, not on its depletion.” If the disproportionate punishment handed down to the Suzuki workers was intended to end industrial disputes – it has failed, rather factory occupations have continued apace and in some instances even increased. The forms of resistance have changed from outright confrontation to more subtle forms.
So I think we should see this moment as a victory for the Musafir and seek ways to expand the scope of this victory – i.e. how to continue to push for allowing freer movement and accommodation/integration of immigrants; rather than seeing this moment as a loss and looking for ways to contain this loss.
I’m really looking forward to my visit; I think the future might be brighter that it sometimes seems.
Yrs ever
A.

The Don Johnson of American Politics: Trump

with
Sam Chermayeff
Georg Diez
25.03.16
60 min
60hertz

Things we hate about Donald Trump, this is an easy question, it seems; but things we like about Donald Trump, the racist, the brute, the ignorant and hater? This is a more difficult task, this is what Sam Chermayeff and Georg Diez try in their conversation about the ‘Don Johnson of American politics’ (Chermayeff). 

Medikamente der Zukunft

08.06.16
4 min

Arab Porn

by
Youssef Rakha
17.05.16
180 min

Das Numen

with
Julian Charrière
Andreas Greiner
Markus Hoffmann
Felix Kiessling
Paul Feigelfeld
17.05.16
60 min

60Pages Showcase

27.04.16
1 min

The End of the Story

with
Renata Adler
Georg Diez
27.04.16
60 min

On Refugees

21.04.16
6 min

Brief ans Feuilleton (1)

08.04.16
4 min

On Refugees

31.03.16
5 min

The Don Johnson of American Politics: Trump

with
Sam Chermayeff
Georg Diez
25.03.16
60 min